The Runaways

November 20, 2011
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They say that eyes are the mirror to your soul.
Frosty green, the kind that reminds you of the minty taste of York Peppermint Patties. The kind that reminds you of the pale sea glass on the ocean in Maine. The kind that reminds you that you will forever be the shattered shards of a mirror. If they're scattered everywhere, do they mean anything anymore?
* * * *
"The next train to Massapequa will depart in 5 minutes."
Train stations make me nervous. So many people coming and going, there's really no consistency. No normalcy. No one settles down. That scares me the most.
"Where are you headed?"
I'm finally comfortable in one of the badly upholstered LIRR seats, listening to the Strokes out of one earphone, while the other one is tangled up in my hair, when I notice the kid next to me.
Shaggy brown hair, faded Ramones shirt, crooked nose. He's going to be a pain in my ass.
"Family party," I say, without even turning around. Lying to someone's face isn't any better.
Because where am I going. What the hell am I doing on this train. I don't even have family in Massapequa. I don't have family at all. "What a coincidence, me too." He shot me a lopsided smile. What a bad liar.
But why is he so beautiful?
Foster care taught me to never trust appearances. Polished prestigious lawyers could turn vicious the second you looked away. Verbal abuse isn't the only kind they know. The white sliver of a scar that sliced through my forehead was proof of that.
Whiskey and gin had the power to consume you. Amy, my first foster mom, would go out on binges days, even weeks at a time.
Starved. Hunger pains consumed me. Thirst.
Not my finest moments.
Why did these people want kids anyway?
"What are listening to?" There came that voice again, slicing through the guitar solo of Reptalia.
Before I could even open my mouth to give him a half-ass reply he picked up the headphone that was dangling from my right ear
"The Strokes, classic. Good taste." He shook his head to the music, choppy hair flying everywhere with each chord.

I don't know why I chose to blush at that moment. His approval, I don't know why it meant anything to me, really. I've never needed anyone's before.
"So what's your story?" He asked, turning around and looking me right in the eyes.

His eyes. I'd never really looked at them. They were a cool grey, like the color of the clouds right before a big thunderstorm.

" I'm running away," I said, as if it was as simple as that.

"From who?"


And that was really all that I had to say

My mom was beautiful. Waist-length blonde hair, sharp cheekbones, and long limbs. But I killed her.

My dad was gone, and that was my fault too.

It had been silent between us for the past fifteen minutes.

The ghost of our conversation lingered in the thick air of the train, consuming my thoughts.

Until he reached over and grabbed my hand. It was an unexpected gesture, but it was rather generous actually. He wasn't hitting on me. In that one moment when his calloused thumb bushed over my hand, he was comforting me.
"Massapequa, last stop. Last stop I repeat."

That was faster than I expected. I slung my bag over my back and gave him one last look before I ran off the train and started walking towards nothing. Nothing at all
I killed them. My mother died giving birth to me and my father died in a car crash coming to the hospital. How is it that I lost the only two people that I would ever need in the world, all because of myself?
I guess it was only fair that I pay for the mistakes I made.
The river wasn't frozen yet. It was only late October anyway. But it the cold, crisp frost I could still see my reflection. In the water I saw my mother with her slender arms, wrapping them around me. I saw my fathers wrinkled smile. I saw the boy's faded t-shirt and his crooked nose. And I saw myself, I was finally free.

I heard a rustling of leaves behind me and looked down a pair of beat up vans.

He came, he came for me.

And that touched me in a way nothing ever would.

He sat down next to me, and pulled his knees to his chest.

"I'm Declan, what's your name?"

And slowly I began to trust.

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